Holiday cheer and the giving spirit were in effect for more than 350 deserving families during the 4th annual Joy to the Carolinas event held Tuesday, December 6 at Carowinds’ WinterFest. 

Coca-Cola Consolidated partnered with the Carolina Panthers to provide a night of family activities along with giveaways of toys and essential items, such as food, winter clothing, and shoes. 

Families started their night picking up winter gear and shoes from Samaritan’s Feet, with the Grinch making a special appearance. Children then walked to get photos with Santa before entering the park as holiday music played outside. 

Josh Gelinas, vice president, communications of Coca-Cola Consolidated, said it was “uplifting” to see smiles across children’s faces as they celebrated the holiday season at Joy to the Carolinas. 

“Serving is at the heart of our purpose at Coke Consolidated,” Gelinas said. “We just want to wish everyone across the Carolinas a peaceful and joyful holiday season.” 

Artificial snow fell from the sky to wrap up a welcome show for guests, which included appearances from the TopCats, Sir Purr, PurrCussion drumline, and a group of more than a dozen Panthers players. 

“Tonight, I had this moment of paying it forward and just being able to be blessed to be in this position to do what we do,” said Carolina Panthers owner Nicole Tepper. “You know, if it wasn’t for my husband – who supports me and every big idea I have, which just means the world – and having the Panthers, Coca-Cola Consolidated, everyone come together tonight; I really felt a moment of, ‘Wow, this is a blessing.'” 

Guests wrapped up the night with Second Harvest Food Bank take-home meals, sponsored by Harris Teeter, before their final trip to Toyland, sponsored by The David and Nicole Tepper Foundation. 

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